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jmc
July 25th 09, 12:03 PM
I had a thought last night, as I was paying the $200+ vet bill.

I've a cat with known cystitis. This time it caused a UTI. Since this
is diagnosed by looking at the urine for crystals, white blood cells and
red blood cells, I was wondering if anyone's ever just done this
themselves? Got a microscope and checked kitty's urine on a regular basis?

That way, when kitty has a cystitis attack, I'd be able to differentiate
a regular cystitis attack that might clear up on it's own,for a UTI
that requires antibiotics. Heck, since they always use the same one, if
Clavamox isn't prescription (or even if it is) could keep two around the
house!

I'm thinking of this not just for now, but for the future. Our
retirement home, which I hope Meep will still be around to enjoy, is
isolated, and 30 miles from the nearest vet. People thereabouts do
often treat their own pets and livestock, with a vet's advice. I can
give shots to horses, so I'm sure I can do it for cats too.

I, of course, would do this with my vet's advice. She's already said
she'll teach me how to palpitate Meep's abdomen so I can tell if her
bladder's overfull or if she's constipated.

jmc

July 25th 09, 09:33 PM
On Jul 25, 4:03*am, jmc > wrote:
> I had a thought last night, as I was paying the $200+ vet bill.
>
> I've a cat with known cystitis. *This time it caused a UTI. *Since this
> is diagnosed by looking at the urine for crystals, white blood cells and
> red blood cells, I was wondering if anyone's ever just done this
> themselves? *Got a microscope and checked kitty's urine on a regular basis?
>
> That way, when kitty has a cystitis attack, I'd be able to differentiate
> * a regular cystitis attack that might clear up on it's own,for a UTI
> that requires antibiotics. *Heck, since they always use the same one, if
> Clavamox isn't prescription (or even if it is) could keep two around the
> house!
>
> I'm thinking of this not just for now, but for the future. Our
> retirement home, which I hope Meep will still be around to enjoy, is
> isolated, and 30 miles from the nearest vet. *People thereabouts do
> often treat their own pets and livestock, with a vet's advice. *I can
> give shots to horses, so I'm sure I can do it for cats too.
>
> I, of course, would do this with my vet's advice. *She's already said
> she'll teach me how to palpitate Meep's abdomen so I can tell if her
> bladder's overfull or if she's constipated.
>
> jmc

I would talk to your vet about it. Some of it may be something you can
do on your own, but most would discourage it. As for the meds, it is
prescription, and it is against the law for them to pescribe it
without diagnosing the cat in person. I had this problem when my cat
was dehydrated. I just needed a pack of fluids, but by law, they could
not sell it to me without doing an exam.

Kinda like when I call my doctor for a refill. Within a reasonable
time, they can go ahead and give me a refill. But over a year since a
visit, and I have to go in for a checkup.

Because it is a recurring problem, they may allow you to get a new
prescription without an exam if the vet is confident that you can
identify it, and the last visit was fairly recent.

I would definitely talk to your vet and go from there.

Gandalf
July 26th 09, 12:14 PM
On Sat, 25 Jul 2009 07:03:51 -0400, jmc
> wrote:

>I had a thought last night, as I was paying the $200+ vet bill.
>
>I've a cat with known cystitis. This time it caused a UTI. Since this
>is diagnosed by looking at the urine for crystals, white blood cells and
>red blood cells, I was wondering if anyone's ever just done this
>themselves? Got a microscope and checked kitty's urine on a regular basis?
>
>That way, when kitty has a cystitis attack, I'd be able to differentiate
> a regular cystitis attack that might clear up on it's own,for a UTI
>that requires antibiotics. Heck, since they always use the same one, if
>Clavamox isn't prescription (or even if it is) could keep two around the
>house!
>
>I'm thinking of this not just for now, but for the future. Our
>retirement home, which I hope Meep will still be around to enjoy, is
>isolated, and 30 miles from the nearest vet. People thereabouts do
>often treat their own pets and livestock, with a vet's advice. I can
>give shots to horses, so I'm sure I can do it for cats too.
>
>I, of course, would do this with my vet's advice. She's already said
>she'll teach me how to palpitate Meep's abdomen so I can tell if her
>bladder's overfull or if she's constipated.
>
>jmc

For urinalysis you would need a good quality microscope, a centrifuge,
and the knowledge to know what you are looking at under a microscope.

Plus some supplies: test tubes that fit the centrifuge, a hemacytometer,
microscope slides, some pipettes, and cover slips

You would need a microscope with enough resolution to be able to clearly
see bacterial cells.

That rules out a lot of microscopes.

You would need a 100x oil immersion lens, to see bacteria.

For crystals and other larger structures, you would need a 25x or 40x
lens. I usually used both.

I used to do clinical urinalysis. The difference between a cheap
microscope, and a good one, is like night and day.

A 'good' microscope costs thousands of dollars, even used.

A used centrifuge might run $100 to several hundred dollars. I've
purchased at least a dozen new centrifuges. The cheapest one, many years
ago, was $900. But cheaper ones could do the job. A centrifuge with a
fixed angle rotor would cost less than one with swinging buckets.

The most significant problem, one you got some laboratory equipment,
would be learning to use it.

You could get some books with photographs, as a start.

One of the things I learned is that what you see through the microscope
rarely looks like what you see in photographs.

Doing urinalysis requires experience. There is simply no way to get
around that. When I first started, I didn't recognize much of what I was
looking in the microscope. I saw a LOT of things I didn't recognize;
more experienced people taught me what to look for, and what was
important.

I'm not saying that what you want to do is impossible, but it certainly
won't be easy.

Good luck.

jmc
July 26th 09, 12:43 PM
Suddenly, without warning, Gandalf exclaimed (7/26/2009 7:14 AM):
> On Sat, 25 Jul 2009 07:03:51 -0400, jmc
> > wrote:
>
>> I had a thought last night, as I was paying the $200+ vet bill.
>>
>> I've a cat with known cystitis. This time it caused a UTI. Since this
>> is diagnosed by looking at the urine for crystals, white blood cells and
>> red blood cells, I was wondering if anyone's ever just done this
>> themselves? Got a microscope and checked kitty's urine on a regular basis?
>>
>> That way, when kitty has a cystitis attack, I'd be able to differentiate
>> a regular cystitis attack that might clear up on it's own,for a UTI
>> that requires antibiotics. Heck, since they always use the same one, if
>> Clavamox isn't prescription (or even if it is) could keep two around the
>> house!
>>
>> I'm thinking of this not just for now, but for the future. Our
>> retirement home, which I hope Meep will still be around to enjoy, is
>> isolated, and 30 miles from the nearest vet. People thereabouts do
>> often treat their own pets and livestock, with a vet's advice. I can
>> give shots to horses, so I'm sure I can do it for cats too.
>>
>> I, of course, would do this with my vet's advice. She's already said
>> she'll teach me how to palpitate Meep's abdomen so I can tell if her
>> bladder's overfull or if she's constipated.
>>
>> jmc
>
> For urinalysis you would need a good quality microscope, a centrifuge,
> and the knowledge to know what you are looking at under a microscope.
>
> Plus some supplies: test tubes that fit the centrifuge, a hemacytometer,
> microscope slides, some pipettes, and cover slips
>
> You would need a microscope with enough resolution to be able to clearly
> see bacterial cells.
>
> That rules out a lot of microscopes.
>
> You would need a 100x oil immersion lens, to see bacteria.
>
> For crystals and other larger structures, you would need a 25x or 40x
> lens. I usually used both.
>
> I used to do clinical urinalysis. The difference between a cheap
> microscope, and a good one, is like night and day.
>
> A 'good' microscope costs thousands of dollars, even used.
>
> A used centrifuge might run $100 to several hundred dollars. I've
> purchased at least a dozen new centrifuges. The cheapest one, many years
> ago, was $900. But cheaper ones could do the job. A centrifuge with a
> fixed angle rotor would cost less than one with swinging buckets.
>
> The most significant problem, one you got some laboratory equipment,
> would be learning to use it.
>
> You could get some books with photographs, as a start.
>
> One of the things I learned is that what you see through the microscope
> rarely looks like what you see in photographs.
>
> Doing urinalysis requires experience. There is simply no way to get
> around that. When I first started, I didn't recognize much of what I was
> looking in the microscope. I saw a LOT of things I didn't recognize;
> more experienced people taught me what to look for, and what was
> important.
>
> I'm not saying that what you want to do is impossible, but it certainly
> won't be easy.
>
> Good luck.


Thank you, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear - sounds like it's
too involved, and too costly. The idea was not only to minimize stress
on my cat, but to possibly save money. Doesn't look like that's gonna
happen.

Still an idea for when we end up in the remote retirement home. It's
easy for me to learn certain things - how to actually use the equipment
would likely be easy for me to learn. The rest, I think is possible
too, with a sympathetic veterinarian. I could also become a vet tech,
something I once considered when I was younger (actually, I wanted to be
a veterinarian, but costs scared me off), but life set that aside for me
for now.

Again, thanks. Nice, thorough, layman's explanation of what would be
needed.

jmc

Granby
July 26th 09, 12:51 PM
My problem would be the fear that too many things can look alike and only
subtle differences. When my friends try to self diagnose from the sites
online, I get really nervous.
"jmc" > wrote in message
...
> Suddenly, without warning, Gandalf exclaimed (7/26/2009 7:14 AM):
>> On Sat, 25 Jul 2009 07:03:51 -0400, jmc
>> > wrote:
>>
>>> I had a thought last night, as I was paying the $200+ vet bill.
>>>
>>> I've a cat with known cystitis. This time it caused a UTI. Since this
>>> is diagnosed by looking at the urine for crystals, white blood cells and
>>> red blood cells, I was wondering if anyone's ever just done this
>>> themselves? Got a microscope and checked kitty's urine on a regular
>>> basis?
>>>
>>> That way, when kitty has a cystitis attack, I'd be able to differentiate
>>> a regular cystitis attack that might clear up on it's own,for a UTI that
>>> requires antibiotics. Heck, since they always use the same one, if
>>> Clavamox isn't prescription (or even if it is) could keep two around the
>>> house!
>>>
>>> I'm thinking of this not just for now, but for the future. Our
>>> retirement home, which I hope Meep will still be around to enjoy, is
>>> isolated, and 30 miles from the nearest vet. People thereabouts do
>>> often treat their own pets and livestock, with a vet's advice. I can
>>> give shots to horses, so I'm sure I can do it for cats too.
>>>
>>> I, of course, would do this with my vet's advice. She's already said
>>> she'll teach me how to palpitate Meep's abdomen so I can tell if her
>>> bladder's overfull or if she's constipated.
>>>
>>> jmc
>>
>> For urinalysis you would need a good quality microscope, a centrifuge,
>> and the knowledge to know what you are looking at under a microscope.
>>
>> Plus some supplies: test tubes that fit the centrifuge, a hemacytometer,
>> microscope slides, some pipettes, and cover slips
>>
>> You would need a microscope with enough resolution to be able to clearly
>> see bacterial cells.
>>
>> That rules out a lot of microscopes.
>>
>> You would need a 100x oil immersion lens, to see bacteria. For crystals
>> and other larger structures, you would need a 25x or 40x
>> lens. I usually used both.
>>
>> I used to do clinical urinalysis. The difference between a cheap
>> microscope, and a good one, is like night and day.
>>
>> A 'good' microscope costs thousands of dollars, even used.
>>
>> A used centrifuge might run $100 to several hundred dollars. I've
>> purchased at least a dozen new centrifuges. The cheapest one, many years
>> ago, was $900. But cheaper ones could do the job. A centrifuge with a
>> fixed angle rotor would cost less than one with swinging buckets.
>>
>> The most significant problem, one you got some laboratory equipment,
>> would be learning to use it.
>>
>> You could get some books with photographs, as a start.
>>
>> One of the things I learned is that what you see through the microscope
>> rarely looks like what you see in photographs.
>>
>> Doing urinalysis requires experience. There is simply no way to get
>> around that. When I first started, I didn't recognize much of what I was
>> looking in the microscope. I saw a LOT of things I didn't recognize;
>> more experienced people taught me what to look for, and what was
>> important.
>>
>> I'm not saying that what you want to do is impossible, but it certainly
>> won't be easy.
>>
>> Good luck.
>
>
> Thank you, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear - sounds like it's
> too involved, and too costly. The idea was not only to minimize stress on
> my cat, but to possibly save money. Doesn't look like that's gonna
> happen.
>
> Still an idea for when we end up in the remote retirement home. It's easy
> for me to learn certain things - how to actually use the equipment would
> likely be easy for me to learn. The rest, I think is possible too, with a
> sympathetic veterinarian. I could also become a vet tech, something I
> once considered when I was younger (actually, I wanted to be a
> veterinarian, but costs scared me off), but life set that aside for me for
> now.
>
> Again, thanks. Nice, thorough, layman's explanation of what would be
> needed.
>
> jmc

Michelle C.
August 4th 09, 07:57 PM
jmc wrote:
> I had a thought last night, as I was paying the $200+ vet bill.
>
> I've a cat with known cystitis. This time it caused a UTI. Since this
> is diagnosed by looking at the urine for crystals, white blood cells and
> red blood cells, I was wondering if anyone's ever just done this
> themselves? Got a microscope and checked kitty's urine on a regular basis?
>
> That way, when kitty has a cystitis attack, I'd be able to differentiate
> a regular cystitis attack that might clear up on it's own,for a UTI
> that requires antibiotics. Heck, since they always use the same one, if
> Clavamox isn't prescription (or even if it is) could keep two around the
> house!
>
> I'm thinking of this not just for now, but for the future. Our
> retirement home, which I hope Meep will still be around to enjoy, is
> isolated, and 30 miles from the nearest vet. People thereabouts do
> often treat their own pets and livestock, with a vet's advice. I can
> give shots to horses, so I'm sure I can do it for cats too.
>
> I, of course, would do this with my vet's advice. She's already said
> she'll teach me how to palpitate Meep's abdomen so I can tell if her
> bladder's overfull or if she's constipated.
>
> jmc


I used to be a lab tech (for humans ;-) ), and what you propose would
not be too tough, imo, since you'd just be looking for their presence or
absence. Um..., collecting the specimen might actually be tougher.

Michelle

Michelle C.
August 4th 09, 08:07 PM
Gandalf wrote:
> On Sat, 25 Jul 2009 07:03:51 -0400, jmc
> > wrote:
>
>> I had a thought last night, as I was paying the $200+ vet bill.
>>
>> I've a cat with known cystitis. This time it caused a UTI. Since this
>> is diagnosed by looking at the urine for crystals, white blood cells and
>> red blood cells, I was wondering if anyone's ever just done this
>> themselves? Got a microscope and checked kitty's urine on a regular basis?
>>
>> That way, when kitty has a cystitis attack, I'd be able to differentiate
>> a regular cystitis attack that might clear up on it's own,for a UTI
>> that requires antibiotics. Heck, since they always use the same one, if
>> Clavamox isn't prescription (or even if it is) could keep two around the
>> house!
>>
>> I'm thinking of this not just for now, but for the future. Our
>> retirement home, which I hope Meep will still be around to enjoy, is
>> isolated, and 30 miles from the nearest vet. People thereabouts do
>> often treat their own pets and livestock, with a vet's advice. I can
>> give shots to horses, so I'm sure I can do it for cats too.
>>
>> I, of course, would do this with my vet's advice. She's already said
>> she'll teach me how to palpitate Meep's abdomen so I can tell if her
>> bladder's overfull or if she's constipated.
>>
>> jmc
>
> For urinalysis you would need a good quality microscope, a centrifuge,
> and the knowledge to know what you are looking at under a microscope.
>
> Plus some supplies: test tubes that fit the centrifuge, a hemacytometer,
> microscope slides, some pipettes, and cover slips
>
> You would need a microscope with enough resolution to be able to clearly
> see bacterial cells.
>
> That rules out a lot of microscopes.
>
> You would need a 100x oil immersion lens, to see bacteria.
>
> For crystals and other larger structures, you would need a 25x or 40x
> lens. I usually used both.
>
> I used to do clinical urinalysis. The difference between a cheap
> microscope, and a good one, is like night and day.
>
> A 'good' microscope costs thousands of dollars, even used.
>
> A used centrifuge might run $100 to several hundred dollars. I've
> purchased at least a dozen new centrifuges. The cheapest one, many years
> ago, was $900. But cheaper ones could do the job. A centrifuge with a
> fixed angle rotor would cost less than one with swinging buckets.
>
> The most significant problem, one you got some laboratory equipment,
> would be learning to use it.
>
> You could get some books with photographs, as a start.
>
> One of the things I learned is that what you see through the microscope
> rarely looks like what you see in photographs.
>
> Doing urinalysis requires experience. There is simply no way to get
> around that. When I first started, I didn't recognize much of what I was
> looking in the microscope. I saw a LOT of things I didn't recognize;
> more experienced people taught me what to look for, and what was
> important.
>
> I'm not saying that what you want to do is impossible, but it certainly
> won't be easy.
>
> Good luck.

While the things Gandalf mentions are important for doing a full blown
urinalysis, if you are simply looking for the presence or absence of
crystals, red and white cells, it may not need to be that technical.

Yes, you need a microscope with enough magnification to see what your
searching for. A centrifuge would make life easy, but as he states
would also add to the expense. However, if the cat had a full-blown UTI
with lots of WBC's, they would settle to the bottom of the collection
container, and you could syphon the sediment to have a look. The
problem would be that while sediment would almost always mean the
presence of cells or crystals, the absence of sediment doesn't rule them
out. It may just be that they are present and the cat's urine is very
dilute.

So I agree with Gandalf, that it would be difficult and expensive to
replicate the facilities of a regular lab, you might be able to do some
rough testing that would reveal the problem when it is very obvious.

Best regards,
Michelle